The Four Hour Work Week (4HWW)

I’ve long been a fan of Tim Ferriss and his incredible ‘Four Hour Work Week‘ (4HWW) and whilst re-reading it recently I came across a flowchart diagram that neatly captures his approach to ‘activities’.  The image was originally created by a reader Jed Wood.

I’ve recreated the flowchart and supplied it below as an image. I assume Tim and Jed will be ok with this, if not it can be easily removed 🙂

The reason I have done this is that the 4HWW is an incredible work, yet its not the easiest to get into in the first place. If the image below interests you in any way you will do well to check out the book and the associated website.

Four Hour Work Week


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Xojo Generic Listbox Export: Tab, CSV and JSON

The following piece of code is written in the Xojo language (highly recommended by the way) and is a method that takes two Parameters, a List Object, and a Descriptive Type which is a String that can only be one of the following values:

  1. “,” – Comma, Standard Comma Separated CSV
  2. “;” – Semicolon, Alternative CSV
  3. chr(9) – Tab Character, Tab Delimited
  4. “JSON” – JSON Structure

Click Here to Download Code


The contents of your specified ListBox will the be output in your chosen format 🙂

Xojo Building Blocks from chol.technologyLooking for an App creating for your Windows or Mac Computer? What about an App for your iOS or Android Tablet or Phone, or A Web App? Bespoke, Custom, High Quality Applications. Contact Us

Book Review. An Everyday Entrepreneur by Paul Bassi

As I mentioned in an earlier post one of my goals this year was to read 12 business books in 2016. It is now March and I’ve only just finished the first. Not a good start.

January and February were really busy. I had a couple of small projects on, a larger development project and I’m also working on a new commercial product that I will be releasing over the coming months, as well as significant updates to both R10Cipher and oneSql!

Along with Reading, my Guitar Playing, Archery, Shooting, Family, Wildcamping, TV and Biking have all taken a recent back seat in order to get work done.

I’m not complaining though 🙂  It does however explain why I took so long to read my first business book of 2016 and brings me nicely onto my review.

An Everyday Entrepreneur by Paul Bassi


Firstly I should say that although the first few chapters didn’t really grip me, the latter two thirds of the book had me highlighting passages, making notes, grabbing screenshots (I read it on my Tablet) – It really is very readable and full of good, old fashioned common sense mixed up with a refreshing and enlightened way of looking at the business, learning from mistakes and moving forward.

Paul takes a practical approach to building his business and the advice he imparts is all the better for it. He is not going to tell you how to go from £0 to £1M in 21 Days, but he is going to tell you how he grew his business and how his simple, methodical methods and systems could also work for you.

As a Software Developer I am always into something deeply and Paul’s book really did motivate me to put my head above the trenches, smell the coffee and investigate my time more wisely on working on my business not *in* the business.

All in all, I recommend it highly for well written, everyday, practical advice on how to be an Everyday Entrepreneur. 5 Chollies Awarded 🙂FiveCholliesSmall

Looking for an App creating for your Windows or Mac Computer? What about an App for your iOS or Android Tablet or Phone, or A Web App? Bespoke, Custom, High Quality Applications. Contact Me.

Software Cannot Grow Old Gracefully !

As the title says: ‘Software Cannot Grow Old Gracefully‘. It is with this in mind that I am no longer selling or further developing any of the following products:

  • ContaxCRM
  • macVCR
  • MonitorMyMac
  • R10BatchMail
  • SMSRelaySuite

Custom or bespoke versions as well as joint venture editions will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. I’ll be sad to see them go, macVCR was the first application I ever wrote for Mac OSX back in 2007 and here we are 9 years later … still, everything comes to an end.  RIP.


If you have any questions or if you are interested in acquiring source code etc. then please click here to email me, or contact me via telephone: +44 1773 252 007

Note: The source code is written in Xojo and in some cases uses plugins from Monkeybread Software.

New Domain: :-)

I’ve recently acquired a new domain that I’m very pleased about. will now forward to this website in the same way as Only with six less keystrokes required.


When discussing domain names, small is way better 😉

New CRM Software: Video Preview

A new video has just been uploaded to YouTube. This video demonstrates how simple and straightforward it is to insert and print a Sales Invoice using blackdogCRM, currently in Beta. (There is only so many hours in the day!) 🙂 Banner

New Pinterest Account

We now have a Pinterest account. Still in it’s infancy and only a few dozen images so far, but if you want a peek, here it is:

Follow Steven’s board on Pinterest.


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Customer Feedback

All I did was send this customer a new license for R10Cipher after he lost his license during a reformat of his hard disk.  This was his reply:

Thank you, Steven. Looking forward to your next gem. – Joe

It means a lot to get thanked like that. Cheers Joe.




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Free eBooks

I have the following eBooks that I have written which are available for Free download.

  • Securing the Network: An eBook on Corporate Security Issues for the Non Technical (40 Pages)
  • Oracle Database 10g Exam Cram (70 Pages)

Please confirm your Name and Email Address, and select the book you would like from the dropdown menu, and your book will be with you shortly.

You can also access these books from the Free eBooks Page. Products and Affiliate Links

WordPress 101

Setting up a basic WordPress Blog is very simple. There are however a few things you should do afterwards in order to make your Blog more attractive to both your Human visitors and the Search Engine Crawlers.
This is not a definitive list, just a few suggestions that I have found useful myself. I will add to this list over time.
  • Install the Jetpack plugin
  • Install the Askimet plugin
  • Create a Google XML Sitemap
  • Setup Google Analytics
  • Install the All-In-One SEO Pack
  • Setup an About page
  • Setup a Contact Page
  • Setup Social Media Share buttons
  • Setup a ‘Like’ button
Update 19/02/2014:
  • Pagebuilder Plugin by SiteOrigin


I intend to document this list in detail when I get some time, so watch this space 🙂

Mastermind Group

Amber Valley Mastermind Group


One of my 2014 goals. We have only had two meetings so far, but so far so good. Currently looking at the structure of the meetings to provide optimum value to the participants … Not just having a laugh and drinking Starbucks 🙂

More information on Mastermind Groups can be found here:


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Top 100 Business Books

I’ve had this list of the Top 100 Business Books for some time. I did not create the list and unfortunately I have no idea where I found it so am unable to give credit to the person who went to the effort to compile it.



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Mutual Appreciation

I am writing this on my Macbook Pro, sitting at a desk in the office of one of my customers. I have a desk, chair and a cup of coffee.  Why am I here, doing this ?

The customer is Evolve Automotive and I am here for a few hours whilst they add dark tints to my car windows. Yes they look cooler than Frozen Vodka, but the main reason for the tinting is the increased security they offer.

This post is not about window tinting however (or the gorgeous dipping and wrapping services they offer – see the Facebook Images)

This post is about mutual appreciation, co-operation and the benefits of working with and appreciating your customers and suppliers.  If I didn’t have the relationship with them that I have then I wouldn’t be sitting here tapping my foot to Shania Twain who apparently ‘Feels like a Women’.  From what I remember she’s a fine specimen of one as well, but I digress …

Join Hands

Despite the image above (which reminds me of a Coca Cola advert from the 70’s) I am not advocating that we all sit around with acoustic guitars and tambourines and sing ‘Kumbaya’ together.

What I am saying is that whether they are a supplier or a customer you have a relationship with them. Take advantage of that existing relationship and turn to them first when you see an opportunity for business to be reciprocated. They might even let you work from their office for free for the day 🙂

Whilst here this morning I have commented on a blog post written by one of my customers – also an active member of the #avyoursay local business group, contacted another customer who is heavily involved in the voluntary sector – with a view to working together on a future project, emailed yet another customer who is also part of my Mastermind Group, – regarding building a mailing list, spoken to a supplier of office space on behalf of a customer who needs office space and made contact with the Director and the Chairman of the governments new Year of Code initiative.

If your day job can become more like chatting to, meeting and hanging out with friends then how much better does does that make your quality of life ?

It’s a no-brainer as the Americans would say 🙂


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Knowledge Is Power

Scientia est Potentia is the common translation. Not that that matters in the slightest, unless of course anyone ever asks you the question and then you may gain from knowing, maybe credibility, maybe respect – maybe both. After all, Knowledge is power.

In business, knowledge is key. Knowledge of your products is very important, knowledge of your competitors is important, knowledge of when taxes need to be paid is also important. Of over-riding importance however is knowledge of your customers and of your target market(s).

Knowledge in these areas more than any other determine whether your employees are paid this month, or not. Whether you drive a nice car, or ride an old pushbike. Whether you live in a house or sleep on a park bench.

CRM has been described in many different ways. To me it is simple. CRM should provide the tools to help you obtain, retain and use the knowledge of your customers and your target markets, to allow you to better serve those customers and markets and to help you make your own business successful.

With knowledge comes the ability to service those customers and those markets more effectively. To look after them and become known as a company who cares. You can’t care about what you don’t know.

Knowledge gives you the tools to become successful. Use them wisely.

Because Knowledge *IS* Power.


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CRM: Contact Notes

Just a quickie today – for ContaxCRM users who have recently purchased the software, here is the single annotated image that explains all you need to know about adding Notes to a CRM contact.

ContaxCRM Notes


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Success or Failure?

A friend of mine has just written a very interesting article on ‘Failure and Success’.  It’s worth a read.

While I agree mostly with what is said I do think it is possible sometimes to become too focused on ‘Success’ without realising that Success is a very personal thing and can mean very different things to different people.

Like the General who landed his army on the beaches and made them burn their boats so that they would fight a lot harder knowing that there was literally no way back – ‘Failure is not a option’ is a powerful mantra that can contribute to increased Success and hopefully victory.

Sun Tsu talked about this also in his book ‘The Art of War’ – he educated Generals to not block off *all* the avenues of retreat for the enemy, as like the burning of the boats, this leaves no way back and so makes the enemy fight so much harder.

I agree with this and with the sentiment expressed in the article. I would however point out that Success and Failure are relative as well as being moving targets. It is in my opinion fine to slide backwards and forwards between Success and Failure in your quest to achieve what it is you want to achieve.

It’s important to remember that Failure is not a static event and what once you may have considered Failure could in fact be Success and Success can surprise you by being not at all what you anticipated.

So don’t be too hard on yourself when chasing goals – take time to constantly evaluate what it is you define as Success and Failure and make sure you are actually chasing something worthwhile.

Andy Brice of Successful Software wrote an article recently talking about how it was all to easy to give up on a product and start on something new and ‘Shiny’. He is of course 100% correct and that temptation is always going to be there.

Where I disagree with him is where he states that ‘Continually abandoning work in progress for a new idea is also a form of cowardice. ‘ In my opinion you have to constantly re-assess the viability of your product during the development phase and if you no longer think it is viable, this can be for many reasons, then shutting down the project and ceasing development is far from cowardice – it is good business sense.

Like the need to continually reassess what constitutes Success and Failure for us, we also need to do that for our creations, Failure may be stopping development and doing something else or having analysed that the game has changed and our product is no longer relevant – then stopping development and doing something else is not Failure, it’s a form of success. Failure would have been carrying on and releasing a pointless product.

Success or Failure



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